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What is Hospice?
Hospice is a special concept of care that families can choose to enhance life for a dying person when a life-limiting illness is no longer responding to cure-oriented treatments. This care neither prolongs or hastens death. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort, counceling, dignity.
The word "hospice" comes from the Latin word "hospitium" meaning guesthouse. It was originally used to describe a place of shelter for sick and weary travelers returning from religious pilgrimages. During the 1960's, Dr. Cicely Saunders, a British physician, began the modern hospice movement by establishing St. Christopher's Hospice near London, England. St. Christopher's organized a team approach to professional caregiving and was the first program to use modern pain management techniques to compassionately care for the dying. The first hospice in the United States was established in 1974 in New Haven, Connecticut.
The following are some things to consider when choosing hospice care.
The agency should be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body, such as the JCAHO. The JCAHO is an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates and accredits health care organizations.
LICENSING AND CERTIFICATION:
Does your state require licensing, if so, does the program have that license. Has the program been Medicare certified? If so this means that the hospice program has met the minimum federal requirements for patient care and management.
CONSUMER INFORMATION AND REFERENCES:
Does the hospice program have written statements outlining eligablity, services, costs, payment procedures, employee job descriptions, and insurance coverage? If not you need to inquire as to these items and get something in writing to protect yourself. Also, how many years has the program been in operation serving your community? Do they provide references from hospitals, doctors, social workers, and families that have used their services? You need to ask for specific names and telephone numbers. Talk with these people about their experiences.
ADMISSIONS AND PATIENT CARE:
Is the hospice program flexible in applying policies to each patient and will they negotiate over differences you may have. Also, will the program make an assessment to help clarify if your loved one qualifies for hospice or if it is even wanted? The agency should have a plan of care developed for you and your family. Does this plan have a list of specific duties, work hours and supervisor in charge? Does the hospice have a condition for admittance requiring a designated family member al primary caregiver? Does a nurse or social worker come to your home and conduct a preliminary evaluation of the services needed? And most important , how soon can the hospice program initiate care?
These are important question and items that need to be answered before you initiate hospice care for your loved one. The following is a list of hospice care units in our area. For more information on hospice care please follow the links:
Hospice Foundation of America
|Berks Visiting Nurse Association |
|1170 Bershire Blvd Wyomissing PA|
Phone: (800) 346-7848
|Grand View Hospice Program |
|700 Lawn Avenue Sellersville PA 18960|
Phone: (215) 453-4210
|Heartland Hospice |
|1227 Liberty Street Allentown PA|
Phone: (800) 402-7300
|Lehigh Valley Hospice |
|2166 S. 12th Street Allentown PA|
Phone: (610) 402-7300
|Hospice of the VNA Eastern Pennsylvania |
|1510 Valley Center Parkway Bethlehem PA|
Phone: (610) 691-1100
|VNA Hospice At St. Luke's Hospital |
|709 Delaware Avenue Bethlehem PA|
Phone: (610) 954-2222
|Visiting Nurse Association of Pottstown |
|1963 E. High Street Pottstown PA 19464|
Phone: (610) 327-5700